“Acclaimed Latina playwright Karen Zacarías shatters
biases, a laugh at a time” – NBC News

Previews Begin May 19 | Opening Night is May 24 | Closes June 16
Tickets start at $25

Cultures and gardens clash in acclaimed playwright Karen Zacarías’ hilarious hot-button comedy Native Gardens. When a questionable fence line puts a prize-worthy garden in jeopardy, neighborly rivalry escalates into an all-out border dispute, challenging everyone’s notions of race, privilege, class, and good taste. Well-intentioned neighbors quickly turn into feuding enemies.

“You go in, and you’re judging each couple and changing your mind about who’s right, but at the end of the play, the person you’re judging is yourself. My hope is that people will take a moment to ponder what it will take for them to be a better neighbor,” Zacarías said in an interview with Keluda Smith. “You can still laugh, have fun, and talk about hard things in a way where nobody’s off the hook.”

Melissa Crespo directs a cast that includes Anne-Marie Cusson and Paul DeBoy as the retired Butleys, and Erick González and Monica Rae Summers Gonzalez as the new neighbors, the Del Valles. Crespo leads an all women of color design team of Scenic Designer Shoko Kambara, Costume Designer Lux Haac, Lighting Designer Dawn Chiang, and Sound Designer Elishaba Ittoop. Native Gardens is a co-production with Syracuse Stage and Geva Theatre Center, where the production received rave reviews.  

American Theatre Magazine named Zacarías one of the top five most-produced playwrights in the United States this season, and named Native Gardens one of the top 10 most produced plays. Recently, her play Destiny of Desire was a hit at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

The Armory will host free Post-show discussions with cast and crew following matinee performances on May 30, June 2, 6, 13, and 15.


Karen Zacarías’ award-winning plays include The Copper Children, Destiny of Desire, The Book Club PlayLegacy of LightMariela in the DesertThe Sins of Sor Juana, and the adaptations of Just Like Us, Into the Beautiful North, and How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent. She is the author of 10 renowned Theater for Young Audiences musicals, including Ella Enchanted. She is a core founder of the Latinx Theatre Commons and founder of the award-winning Young Playwrights’ Theater. She is an inaugural 2019 Sine Fellow for Policy Innovation at American University and just received the 2019 Lee Reynolds Award. Zacarías lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and three children. 

L-R: Anne-Marie Cusson, Paul DeBoy, and Monica Rae Summers Gonzalez in Native Gardens at Geva Theatre Center. Photo by Goat Factory Media Entertainment/Courtesy of Geva Theatre Center


Each member of the Native Gardens cast will be making their debut at The Armory! Anne-Marie Cusson (Off-Broadway: Stalking the BogeymanEchoes of the WarFar and Wide) will play Virginia Butley. Paul DeBoy (Broadway: Mamma Mia!; Tours: Mamma Mia!, Martin Luther on Trial) will play Frank Butley. Erick González (New York: El Coronel No Tiene Quien Le Escriba; Valor, Agravio y Mujer at Repertorio Español) will play Pablo Del Valle. Monica Rae Summers Gonzalez (Off-Broadway: The Siblings Play at Cherry Lane Theatre; TV: Orange Is the New Black and Shades of Blue) will play Tania Del Valle. Anthony Green (The Island in Winter, or La Isla en Invierno at Bag&Baggage Productions), Martin Hernandez (John Hughes High: The 1980s Teen Musical at Staged!), Crystal Ann Muñoz (The Importance of Being Earnest at Artists Repertory Theatre) and Lucas Salazar (various small theaters in Los Angeles) will play the gardeners.


Melissa Crespo (Wickedest Woman at Strange Sun Theatre; graveyard shift at San Francisco Playhouse; Brother Toad at Kansas City Repertory Theatre) leads a creative team of Scenic Designer Shoko Kambara (Little Girl Blue at George Street Playhouse, Next to Normal at Syracuse Stage), Costume Designer Lux Haac (Between Two Knees at Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Ajijaak on Turtle Island at New Victory Theater/Ibex Puppetry), Lighting Designer Dawn Chiang (Other Desert CitiesThe Old Settler at The Armory), Sound Designer Elishaba Ittoop (The Kennedy Center, The Public Theater, American Repertory Theatre) who also wrote original compositions for the show, Stage Manager Kristen Mun, and production assistants Alexis Ellis-Alvarez and Molly Shevaun Reed.


 When:             May 18 – June 16, 2019*

*Opening Night/Press Night: Friday, May 24 at 7:30 p.m.
Preview Performances: May 18, 19, 21, 22, 23 at 7:30 p.m.

Where:            On the U.S. Bank Main Stage at The Armory

128 NW Eleventh Ave., Portland, Ore., 97209

To Purchase:  Regular tickets range from $25 to $87. Tickets may be purchased at, 503.445.3700, or in-person from the box office (128 NW Eleventh Avenue, Portland, OR). Rush tickets are $20. Students; patrons who are 30 or younger; and active duty or veteran military personnel and their families get 50% off tickets in seating areas 1-3. $5 tickets are available for Oregon Trail Card holders through the Arts for All program. All prices vary by date and time, and are subject to change.


By Phone: 503.445.3700, 12–6 p.m.

In Person: The box office is at 128 NW Eleventh Avenue

                                                12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on performance days

                                                12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on non-performance days

Groups: Discounts available for groups of 10+ by calling 503.445.3794.

More Info:

Showtimes:    Tuesday through Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m. (excluding June 2, 11 and 16); Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. (excluding May 18, 19, 25 and June 8); and Thursday matinees at noon (excluding May 23).

Please Note:   Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Accessibility: Learn about our accessibility options at


Portland Center Stage at The Armory is the largest theater company in Portland and among the top 20 regional theaters in the country. Established in 1988 as a branch of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the company became independent in 1994, and is under the leadership of Artistic Director Marissa Wolf and Managing Director Cynthia Fuhrman. Around 150,000 visitors attend The Armory annually to enjoy a mix of classic, contemporary, and world premiere productions, along with a variety of high quality education and community programs. Eleven productions are offered this season, in addition to roughly 400 community events created — in partnership with 170+ local organizations and individuals — to serve the diverse populations in the city. As part of its dedication to new play development, the company has produced 26 world premieres and presents an annual new works festival, JAW: A Playwrights Festival. Home to two theaters, The Armory (originally built in 1891) opened its doors in 2006 as the first building on the National Register of Historic Places, and the first performing arts venue in the country, to achieve a LEED Platinum rating.

THE 2018-2019 SEASON

The 2018-2019 season is funded in part by Season Superstars Tim and Mary Boyle and Lead Corporate Champion Umpqua Bank. Further support comes from Season Sponsors the Regional Arts and Culture Council, and Oregon Arts Commission, a state agency funded by the state of Oregon and the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Wallace Foundation. Support for Native Gardens comes from Argyle Winery. Mark Spencer Hotel is the official hotel partner for the company. Portland Center Stage at The Armory was selected as a participant of the Wallace Foundation’s Building Audiences for Sustainability Initiative, a four-year effort with a nationwide cohort of 26 performing arts organizations.

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